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What's The Latest On Burgess Hill's Town Centre Redevelopment?

26th January 2020 | By Peter Chapman

Burgess Hill residents are still awaiting news on the redevelopment of the Martlets Shopping Centre, 5 months since NewRiver Retail submitted a revised planning application to Mid Sussex District Council for consideration.

The application was due to be ruled on by the District Planning Committee by December 13th 2019, but the deadline passed and the application was absent from January's agenda too.

The revised plan was for all the residential to be placed in one area - including an 11-storey block of flats, along with a larger hotel and a Hollywood Bowl. The 10-screen cinema, bigger retail units and new restaurants remain part of the scheme.

What's Does The Planning Portal Reveal?
Dipping into the documents associated with the application on the MSDC planning portal:

A resident has sent in a representation letter, stating that the plans are 'bland and boring' identifying the 11 storey block of flats over shadowing St John's Church as 'an appaling bit of town planning'.

Another recent letter calls for the preservation of several mature trees within the plan area. A red oak and several London planes could be set for the chop. The issue was highlighted by Burgess Hill's recently-appointed tree warden in a Facebook post here.

The Horsham and Mid Sussex Clinical Commissioning Group
are seeking a section 106 payment of £125,029 for capital expenditure as the Brow medical surgery are looking to relocate in the town centre due to capacity pressures at their current site. The figure has been calculated based on 226 new residents living in the new scheme.

A concern has been submitted on behalf of Waitrose
who have pointed to a lack of additional parking for the apartments, fearing that spaces for their customers will be lost as the new scheme sees an overal reduction of car parking spaces in the town. Your reporter doesn't recall Waitrose have objections to the original plans, where you'd have thought a 10-screen cinema sharing the same car parking spaces would be the bigger issue for the supermarket. Odd.

Affordable housing isn't happening
- a viabililty report from the applicants has apparently proven that the scheme would not be able to take place if they were required to provide 'affordable' housing. The rate is set at 30% affordable units on developments of 11 properties or more. The scheme will see the construction of 171 apartments, reportedly netting a profit of £16 million (21.4% profit on cost).

A Community Buildings Payment has been identified in the possible section 106 agreement between the applicant and the district council. It is deemed that a financial contribution of £83,023 is required toward the refurbishment of the former Royal British Legion Club, Cyprus Road, Burgess Hill.

Readers will know that Burgess Hill needs to raise £5.5million for a replacement community building due to the demolition of the Martlets Hall to enable the shopping centre redevelopment. Residents would feel the town should receive a payment totalling millions of pounds and not the statutory £83k.

Highways Issues
West Sussex County Council have responded to the application with a few points. One being the proposal of a right hand turn into Waitrose Car Park for vehicles traveling down Station Road from the railway station end. It is thought this would take the pressure off the build-up of traffic at the McDonald's roundabout.

WSCC Highways stated : "No proposals have been put forward to manage the local queuing issue at the entry to the McDonalds site. It would be helpful if the applicant could address this in a deeper way, which could be in the form of a written technical assessment"

The impact of the 11-storey block of flats on St John's Church
is a significant part of the heritage assessment within the applicant's planning statement document.

It reads: It is our view that the proposed development does not negatively impact on the significance of the heritage asset. However, it is appreciated that the decision maker may reach a difference conclusion that less than substantial harm would occur, triggering the test of paragraph 196 of the NPPF.

The proposed development will bring considerable public benefits bringing much-needed regeneration to the town centre. Therefore, in accordance with paragraph 196 of the NPPF, it is considered that the significant public benefits of the scheme would outweigh the “less than substantial” harm to the setting of this heritage asset.

See The Detailed Plans
The full documentation for the application is available on the MSDC Planning Portal. Look up planning number DM/19/3331 . The document of most interest is the three-part 'design and access statement' (You can find these by clicking the 'related documents' tab)

The District Planning Committee date to hear this application can't be too far away now....

Spread the word! The decision date for MSDC to consider the plans for the Martlets Shopping Centre is very close

Got an opinion on this story? Leave a comment below.....
What do you think of the latest plans for the Martlets Shopping Centre? Will this be the one that finally becomes a reality?

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